55.1 F

Davis, California

Friday, February 23, 2024

Review: El Patio

Latest Mexican food chain pales in comparison to its competitors.  

The vacant space on the corner of E and 2nd Street has been filled by El Patio, a Tex-Mex food chain. Casual dining is always appreciated in a college town, but this establishment’s take on Mexican cuisine might be too relaxed to make a name for itself among its competitors. 

El Patio’s ambiance makes for a good first impression. Upon entering the restaurant, I first noticed the clean and welcoming interior. Customers are seated under a rustic, wooden gazebo with Spanish music playing in the background. There is also an option to sit by the windows, which give a full view of 2nd Street. I was able to watch the chaos of a Friday afternoon in downtown from within the decorated, well-lit restaurant, which was rather relaxing. 

A convenient location and good ambiance, however, can only take a restaurant so far. El Patio provided a temporary menu for its first few weeks of service, as many developing establishments do. But even for a temporary menu, it was pretty sparse. There were no explicitly vegetarian options, and modifications had to be requested by the customer. 

The menu also lacks healthy options. They do not carry black beans, carrying only pinto and refried beans. There was also only one salad option: an uninspired chicken salad. Again, this was a temporary menu, so this issue may resolve itself. The health-conscious customer, however, might be better off avoiding El Patio completely. 

A friend and I ordered the Super Burrito and meatless tacos. The food was prepared at a concerningly quick speed and was served on cafeteria trays. The burrito was bland at best, but the tacos were particularly unimpressive. The pinto beans, which had not been drained of their fluid, were slapped onto the tortilla carelessly, creating a soggy mess of a lunch.  

Chips come on the side of every meal. Although served warm — a nice touch — they still tasted like store-bought tortilla chips. The salsa bar only offered two types of salsa.
Frankly, the chain doesn’t stand up to its competitors in Davis. Americanized Mexican food can be found in many locations in Davis. There are two Dos Coyotes locations and a La Piñata in town, and El Patio doesn’t have the unlimited soda machines or salsa bar that compares to these establishments.

El Patio is the perfect dining option for anyone within walking distance of 200 E Street who needs a relaxing place to sit and escape the heat. Besides that, people are better off taking their wallets and appetite elsewhere. 

Written by: Alyssa Ilsley — arts@theaggie.org


  1. Interesting review.
    However, I would have appreciated a bit more research into El Patio. I know that there is an El Patio in Woodland and they make their own corn tortillas for tacos, which is something they’re known for. It’s unclear what was in the super burrito, was there meat? Guac? What kind of tortillas were the tacos made with? Did you ask for a recommendation?
    They say you eat with your eyes first, and any pictures of the meal would have been appreciated.
    Will there be a follow-up review since this was a soft opening? This review left more questions than answers.


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